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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7473
Experience:  UK Lawyer holding practising certficate for England & Wales.
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Hi My wife has recently made an application for an FLM visa

Customer Question

Hi

My wife has recently made an application for an FLM visa with me as her sponsor. She is a US citizen and I am a UK citizen. We received a letter from the UKBA on 30th January confirming receipt of the application. Our application was very straightforward - there are no children, no previous immigration problems (or legal problems of any kind), we already live together, and I am currently making £50k - more than enough to satisfy the financial requirements.

The complication is that my company has announced a big round of redundancies. I have about a 50% chance of being able to stay on at my company, otherwise I will have to look elsewhere. The job market in my field (IT) is healthy and I have no doubt I will be able to find work; my worry is implications for the visa application. I have contacted the UKBA on their helpline to ask for advice - they say to keep the caseworker up to date, but other than that it's at the discretion of the caseworker.

The timeline for the redundancy process is 3 months from now - if I am to be made redundant it will be official on 8 May, and I will then serve my one month's notice and no longer be employed by my current employer by 8 June. Hopefully the visa process will be over with by then - we were given an estimate of 2-3 months for a straightforward application like ours - but I understand that that is no guarantee.

My question is therefore which of my options would be best - cause the least disruption and be least likely to cause the caseworker to dismiss my application:

1) Pre-empt the redundancy, move on to a new job ASAP, and update the caseworker
2) Stay at my current employer for as long as possible, hope the caseworker contacts them while I am still an employee, and start looking for other jobs at the end of the redundancy period
3) Attempt to stay at my current company (although my understanding is that I would have to reapply to internal jobs, so it would essentially be a new job anyway).

I am concerned that the caseworker will contact my current employer and be told either that I am on redundancy warning; am service my notice period; or am no longer employed there, depending on which of the above options I take, and that this may be a big red flag.

My wife and I do NOT have enough money in savings to meet the financial requirements that way. There is an account held in trust for me by my parents which would meet the requirements, but I'm not sure that that counts.

Thanks for your help

Tom
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi Tom,

Wow, what a time to hear this news. Really sorry.

What are your prospects of being able to quickly secure a new job above the salary threshold?

I assume that your wife is in the UK because you have referred to form FLR(M), does she work and, if so, what is her annual income?

Kind regards,

Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Graham


 


I know, the timing is really unfortunate!


 


The good news is the prospects of getting a new job are almost certain. It is very much an employee's market in IT (my current company being the exception, naturally!), and all the jobs will pay above the requirement. The question is really about how the UKBA will respond to me changing jobs in the middle of the process, vs how they would respond to a redundancy, vs staying here and hoping for the best - ie that I don't get made redundant and/or the UKBA does all their checks before anything happens, which as I say isn't until 8 May.


 


My wife is in the UK, yes. As it happens she has literally just signed a contract for a new job (her first in the UK), starting Monday (11th Feb). The salary is £17k, up to 17.5 on completion of 3 months probation.


 


I currently have about £8k in my personal bank account, if that helps.


 


Thanks,


 


Tom

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Thanks Tom.

Ideally, would you prefer to stay in your current job?

Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

In the perfect world I'd quite like to move on - nothing says a company is going downhill like making half the department redundant! But the visa application definitely takes precedence, especially since - hopefully - it will only mean a couple of months extra with this company.


 


Tom

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Thanks for your patience.

Generally you are under a duty to inform the UKBA of a change in circumstances. You could potentially argue that being put on notice in this way is not a change of circumstances on the basis that you are still employed and so your circumstances would not technically “changed” as such yet.


Additionally, it would be a very draconian immigration appeal judge who took the view that not informing the UKBA of the risk of redundancy is something which should prejudice the application in the long term given that you are presumably feeling quite under pressure (eg. So might have other things on your mind taking prority to informing the UKBA) and there is no clear guidance on what you should do in the case of being put on notice in this way.

If you are made redundant then you have to inform them, no question.

If you wish to leave (irrespective of the redundancy) then there is no harm in having job interviews. If you secure a job during the application process and start employement then you would have to inform the UKBA. This may mean that they reject the application because the documentation that they have will not accurately reflect your employment status. This means that you will have to appeal.

However, presumably by the time you appeal you will have been employed by your new employer already and therefore meet the financial requirements even though you would have been employed for less than 6 months (because of your gross annual income in the preceding 12 months prior to the application date). This would mean that either the UKBA would drop their rejection when you appeal and send evidence of new employement OR that the appeal would actually happen and you would win.

I personally would stay where you are in the hope that you are not made redundant provided that you are confident that you could find new employment within a month or two if you are actually made redundant.


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Kind regards,


Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your answer.


 


I am a little unclear on what would happen if I move to a new job. Presumably I wouldn't tell the UKBA anything until I had a signed contract with my new employer. This contract would state my starting salary, as well as dates etc. When writing to inform the UKBA of the change I would include this contract as evidence, and they would see that I am still in full-time employment earning the requirement. They would also have details of my previous employment, in the form of my last 6 months' payslips, as that was the evidence I sent in already.


 


If I did this do you still think there is a chance they would reject the application purely because circumstances had changed?


 


Would the appeal definitely be dropped / won, assuming I did still meet all the requirements?


 


Would my wife still be able to live and work in the UK if it went to appeal?


 


Finally, I understand your advice on staying put, but I'm worried that informing the UKBA that I've been made redundant would be worse than informing them that I've changed job of my own volition, as it raises more questions about my stability. Would you agree?


 


Thanks


 


Tom

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi Tom,

Your second statement is an accruate description of what you should do, yes, although you would also have to send your first payslip.

Again, I personally would wait in the hope that you are not made redundant though.

There is a chance that if you had not receive your first payslip by the time they determine the application but were at that time aware that you were switch jobs that they would reject the application, yes, but I would be very confident that you woudl win on appeal and reasonably confident that they would witdrawn the refusal before the appeal. They have discretion and it's public money so they can't defend from a poor position as this would be.

Your wife's status woudl remain as it is prior to the application.

If you are made redundant then it would be more difficult to sort out than simply changing jobs, but changing jobs off your own back has it's own problems in terms of potentially being rejected waiting for the documents/payslip to be available so unless (depending on how confident you are that you will not be made redundant) I think it worth the risk.

Because of the unfortunate timing, any decision you take has an element of risk as I am sure that you appreciate.

Please remember to rate my answer.


Kind regards

Tom
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 7473
Experience: UK Lawyer holding practising certficate for England & Wales.
Thomas and other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks so much for your answers!


 


I just have a couple of very quick questions for you if you get a chance.


 


As I mentioned earlier, some lawyers we spoke to indicated that they would expect a simple application like ours (without any of these new developments) to take 2-3 months to process, although they were at pains to say that that is no guarantee. Does that sound reasonable to you?


 


If we did end up going to appeal, can you give a similar ballpark timeframe for that?


 


Thanks again,


 


Tom

Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Probably edging towards three I would say, but in that ball park if there are no complicating factors and the applicatino is plainly eligible.

Probably a further three-four months from the date of rejection to appeal.

Thanks for rating.

Kind regards,

Tom

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